Redskins target Pittman - with mixed results

Cornerback beaten for 40-yard pass, then foils Moss on a similar play

Notebook

August 26, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

LANDOVER -- David Pittman's debut as a Ravens cornerback was a mixed bag.

Pittman, who played in place of injured starter Samari Rolle, surrendered one big play, but did not suffer any more major mishaps during last night's weather-shortened 13-7 loss to the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Pittman - who, along with the rest of the first-team defense, played the entire first half - was targeted at least four times by Washington, and he allowed two receptions.

"I thought I had a pretty good night," he said. "I'll go evaluate the film with the coaches and see what they've got to say about it."

Pittman was tested by Redskins quarterback Todd Collins on the offense's first snap of the game.

On first down from Washington's 33-yard line, wide receiver Santana Moss, who had lined up to the left of Collins, took off on a simple fly route down the left sideline. Pittman stayed with Moss stride for stride, but he never looked back for the football, which Moss caught before stumbling out of bounds at the Ravens' 27 for a 40-yard gain.

That play led to Shaun Suisham's 45-yard field goal to give the Redskins a 3-0 lead.

On Washington's next offensive series, Collins and Moss tried the same play on Pittman, but the corner ran with Moss and used his body to prevent Moss from running underneath the football, which fell to the turf.

Moss wanted a pass-interference call against Pittman, but the official following the play did not agree. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis congratulated Pittman on the coverage.

Pittman, who made three tackles, said he didn't feel disrespected by the Redskins calling the same play on him twice.

"If I was on that side of the ball, I would do the same thing to a guy that hasn't really played a lot," he said. "As time goes on, that play will be an interception instead of just being in the receiver's hip pocket."

Coach Brian Billick said: "It was clear they were going after `Pitt' and he held up pretty well. He gave up the big play on the first drive, but came back."

In the second quarter, Collins attempted to float a pass over Pittman to wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, but he overthrew him.

Last night represented a prime opportunity for Pittman, a third-round choice by the Ravens in last year's draft whom team officials hope can become a starting corner.

Storm delays start

A tumultuous storm that swept through the Washington area delayed the start of last night's game by 71 minutes, and another front eventually forced the cancellation of the game's final 27 minutes.

The game, which was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., was delayed until 9:11 p.m. as lightning and heavy rain forced officials to clear the field and stands at FedEx Field at about 7:24 p.m.

With 11:38 left in the third quarter, lightning flashed, and a heavy downpour followed, prompting officials to end the game.

Gaither struggles

Rookie left tackle Jared Gaither, who earned a starting job while perennial All-Pro Jonathan Ogden sits out the preseason because of a toe injury, had his toughest night of the preseason.

Gaither, taken in the supplemental draft after academic problems forced him to leave Maryland, was involved in the play that led to the go-ahead score for the Redskins.

Though Gaither said he wasn't responsible for Kyle Boller's protection breaking down, linebacker Anthony Trucks appeared to blow past Gaither, who saw the pass bounce off his back and into the arms of rookie linebacker Dallas Sartz, who scored a 3-yard touchdown.

Gaither didn't seem discouraged by the performance.

"I'm feeling much more comfortable," Gaither said. "This is the third preseason game. I think I'm doing pretty good. I kind of figured I was capable. I've worked really hard."

Several Ravens injured

Several Ravens players suffered injuries last night. Free safety Ed Reed suffered a thigh bruise, Pryce left with back spasms, and rookie linebacker Prescott Burgess injured his shoulder and suffered a concussion.

Pryce said his back was better and would not prevent him from practicing tomorrow. Reed was not seen in the team locker room after the game.

As expected, the Ravens deactivated wide receiver Mark Clayton (sprained ankle), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (swollen knee), cornerback Rolle (sprained ankle), tight end Daniel Wilcox (sprained ankle), running back P.J. Daniels (tweaked hamstring) and offensive tackle Steve Edwards (torn meniscus).

Two surprise inactives were rookie linebacker Antwan Barnes and defensive tackle Atiyyah Ellison. Barnes, who had missed the team's last preseason game against the New York Giants last Sunday due to a twisted ankle, said he underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam Friday after some swelling surfaced.

Barnes, who had practiced all week, wore a protective boot around the right ankle, but said he was optimistic that he would be able to play in the final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night.

Ellison missed practice on Tuesday after the birth of his second son Monday night, but was present on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wide receiver Demetrius Williams was expected to start in place of Clayton, while defensive tackle Justin Bannan was expected to fill in for Ngata.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Don Markus contributed to this article.

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